California Statewide Digital Equity Telephone Survey  

The California Statewide Digital Equity Telephone Survey randomly sampled California residents to provide an accurate, statistically reliable data set about the status of Internet connectivity for input to the Digital Equity Plan. The telephone survey aimed to identify the unique challenges of individuals with limited or no access to broadband internet and digital resources.  

By conducting a widespread randomized telephone survey, the State captured insights directly from residents, ensuring their voices were heard and their specific digital equity needs were considered. The survey also gathered data on barriers preventing covered individuals and households from accessing broadband, such as affordability, geography, or a lack of awareness about available resources.  

The Statewide Telephone Survey, conducted by the University of Southern California and coordinated by the California Emerging Technology Fund, reached more than 3,560 residents across the state by both cell and landline home phone numbers. It is the largest randomized sample ever conducted to determine the status of digital equity in the state. See below for a detailed breakdown of survey responses.  

Overall Approach (<3% Margin of Error) 

  • 1,650 Households randomized telephone numbers (>90% Mobile) (collected 1,709 surveys) 
  • 1,550 Oversampling of covered populations, including rural counties and low-Income households by prepaid phones (collected 1,661 surveys)
  • Strategic plan for oversampling of covered populations

Digital Equity Telephone Survey Findings

Digital Equity Telephone Survey Responses by Covered Population

91%People with Disabilities 
90%Older Residents 
65%Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Eligible Households That Are Not Aware of the Benefit 
37%Low-Income Households with Children in School are Aware of ACP 
34%Low-Income Households are Aware of ACP 

Other Key Telephone Survey Finds

Californians spend an average $83.60/month on broadband internet service. 

Cost is the main barrier to home broadband adoption; almost two-thirds (61%) of respondents without home broadband report cost as one of the reasons for not having the service. 

The income gap in broadband adoption has decreased. Adoption among the poorest households (below $20,000 annual household income) jumped from 70% in 2021 to 85% in 2023. 

The monthly cost of broadband is significantly lower in the Central East Neighbor Region (San Joaquin Valley and the Central and Eastern Sierra counties) at $77.60/ month, while somewhat higher in the Northwest Region (Redwood Coast and North Bay North Coast) at $90/month.  

Additional Resources

For additional key findings and more information on the California Statewide Digital Equity Telephone Survey, see the 2023 Statewide Digital Equity Survey Final Report and the California Digital Equity Public Survey Fact Sheet.